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IT TAKES a pretty tight-knit circle of friends to bring board games into your drinks night equation, but once you do, there’s no turning back. Maybe you’ve discovered the sociopathic delights of Secret Hitler at some point over the past few years and want to take things further. Maybe Cataan isn’t scratching the same itch it once did. Maybe you’re sick to death of that one trivia fiend who always dominates Articulate, or need a little group therapy to bring the crew back together after a particularly vicious round of Monopoly.

Whatever your poison, the last couple of years have been great for board and games, and these are the best new games, along with some party classics, to try.



$19 at Kmart

Players: 3-6

Playing time: 30 mins

A party-sized game that’ll fit in a handbag and is done in half an hour, Anomia doesn’t come with the knowledge barrier that leaves a lot of trivia games lop-sided, and thanks to both a big deck of cards and numerous expansions, is endlessly playable. It’s a pretty simple game in practice but deceptively engaging, requiring the players to match visual and written cues to name things that fit into randomly generated categories based on a card flip.


Votes for Women

$75 USD at Fort Circle Games

Players: 1-4

Playing time: 60-90 mins

Area control games can turn best friends into enemies at the best of times, but Votes for Women takes things to another level with a fun, and poignant, twist grounded in real-life history. As the name suggests, players in Votes for Women captures the territorial battles waged in the states by the suffragette movement during the early 20th century, as players fight for progress against others who choose to sew dissent throughout the population – because who doesn’t want to role-play an historical scumbag, right?




$54.95 at Amazon

Players: 2-12

Playing time: 30 minutes

Another party game that carries an interesting premise yet is perfect for more casual gamers, Wavelength carries a fun physical aspect, requiring players to blindly place a needle in the middle of a dial based on verbal cues and opinions from a ‘psychic’ who has to guide their team-mates movements. It’s a game designed not just to frustrate and elate, but cause debates on fun topics, which sounds a whole lot more fun to us than sitting around bemoaning the cost of living.



$90 from Amazon

Players: 2

Playing time: 20-30 minutes

The perfect two-player game for a long train trip or when there’s simply nothing on the TV, Cathedral is easy to learn, aesthetic enough to take pride of place on any coffee table and only takes 20 minutes to complete once you’ve got a handle on the rules. Players battle to out-strategize their opponent in the construction of a Cathedral, with each player vying to get all of their pieces on the board and dominate the valuable real estate. It’s simple, yet gets your brain going as you try to think multiple turns ahead of your opponent.


Small World

$79.95 from Gameology

Players: 2-5

Playing time: 45-60 minutes

If you ever wished Risk was a little bit more, well, interesting, Small World might be the game for you. Combining the territory control and battle-focused gameplay of Risk with a Lord of the Rings-adjacent fantasy setting. Each race and faction in the game has different characteristics and powers that get jumbled up based on card draws at the start of the game, forcing players to think less conventionally and throwing up a cavalcade of fantastic combinations.



$39.95 from Amazon

Players: 4-16

Playing time: 30-60 minutes
Monikers was released in 2015 with a premise so simple we were stunned no-one had thought of it before: Celebrity Heads, but better. Players take turns guessing celebrities, historical figures and concepts attributed to them, but with hundreds of cards included and a round-based format that limits the clue givers first to only saying one word and then charading, it ramps up the stress.


One Night Ultimate Werewolf

$49.95 from Amazon

Players: 1-4

Playing time: 10 minutes

A game that’s caused more arguments and moments of jaw-dropping deceit amongst my own friend group, One Night is a refined and sped-up version of popular social deduction game Werewolf, where players are given assigned roles and have to guess the Werewolf within their midst based on five minutes of ruthless interrogation and bare-faced lying to and from your fellow players. It only really takes 10 minutes to play, but you’ll likely be playing for hours as everyone’s inner sociopath slowly comes to the fore.




$189.95 from Amazon

Players: 1-4

Playing time: 30-120 mins

Much-acclaimed dungeon crawler Gloomhaven sits firmly into the category of board games for more seasoned players, combining RPG elements with an enthralling narrative, a sense of adventure and peril around every corner, countless unique enemies to fight and a rulebook as cavernous as its dungeons. You’ll probably have to set aside a couple of hours to play it, especially if you’re just learning for the first time, but with its video game-esque gameplay experience, it’s one of those games that rewards the time investment. Its follow-up, Frosthaven, is also receiving rave reviews.


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